House Looking at $1B in Funds to Secure Comms Supply Chain

A bipartisan group of members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee introduced a bill today to provide $1 billion in aid to remove prohibited equipment from the networks of small communications providers and prevent the usage of Federal funds for “any company that poses a national security risk to American communications networks.”

The Secure and Trusted Communications Network Act (H.R. 4459) is backed by Reps. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., Greg Walden, R-Ore., Doris Matsui, D-Calif., and Brett Guthrie, R-Ky. The bill would task the Federal Communications Commission with establishing a reimbursement program for small communications providers to help them remove prohibited equipment from their systems and replace them with “more secure communications equipment and services,” a press release from the committee states. The $1 billion in appropriations would be made available over 10 years.

“This bipartisan legislation will protect our nation’s communications networks from foreign adversaries by helping small and rural wireless providers root-out suspect network equipment and replace it with more secure equipment.  We must get this done to protect our national security,” the four members of Congress said in a joint statement.

The bill specifically targets Huawei, and the bill’s cosponsors mentioned the company in the press release as an example of a threat to national security. The bill would use the existing entity list from the Bureau of Industry and Security and entities designated under the Supply Chain Executive Order.

The bill will go before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where the cosponsors of the bill are likely to succeed in passing it.

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